Nicollette has been battling kidney disease for most of her life. At the age of 12, Nicollette was rushed to her pediatrician's office with extremely swollen ankles. Nicollette was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a genetic kidney disorder.
For years, Nicollette was able to avoid dialysis and maintained her kidney function thanks to a combination of medication, fluid restriction and a strict diet. When she turned 18, Nicollette received a kidney transplant from her mother - it was a perfect match. But just six months later, FSGS began to invade her new kidney. Nicollette's kidney failed six years later, forcing her to go on dialysis in 2004.
Nicollette would dialyze at a local dialysis center three times a week for a few hours each session. The routine wasn't easy for Nicollette. "I would sit there dialyzing and dreaming about the other activities I could be doing,"' says Nicollette. "Afterwards, I felt weak and nauseous. The 20-minute car ride home was a nightmare."
Nicollette tried peritoneal dialysis, but decided it wasn't for her. Peritoneal dialysis is a catheter-based technique that uses the patient's own abdominal membrane, or peritoneum-rather than an external device-as a filter for extracting fluids and toxins from the blood. While undergoing peritoneal dialysis, Nicollette was unable to eat because she constantly felt full. It was a side effect that the self-described foodie and culinary school graduate didn't want to deal with.
In 2005, Nicollette's dialysis center told her about the NxStage System One, which would enable her to dialyze on her own at home. Nicollette and her boyfriend signed up for training and haven't looked back since. Nicollette now dialyzes more frequently, which better mimics natural kidney function and leaves her feeling healthier and more energetic. Since beginning daily, more frequent dialysis with the NxStage System One, Nicollette is taking less medication and her blood work has been great. With her health and more flexible schedule, Nicollette is able to enjoy her hobbies again. An avid outdoors enthusiast, Nicollette spends her weekends kayaking and hiking in upstate New York. She's kayaked down Batten Kill River, Cedar River Flow and Fly Creek.
Nicollette also gives back to the community, teaching a weekly cooking class to mentally handicapped adults. "My students love showing off their chopping skills," says Nicollette. "Thanks to NxStage, I'm able to share my love of food, and I have the freedom to enjoy the foods I love."
"NxStage gave me back my freedom and my health," says Nicollette. "I no longer dream about the activities I could be doing. I go out and do them."